Q & A: Trend researcher predicts gloomy 2012

Gerald Celente, founder of the Kingston-based Trends Research Institute, can wish people a Happy New
Gerald Celente
Gerald Celente

Gerald Celente knows one trend will continue in 2012 — he’s not going to be carrying around a cellphone.

The founder of the Kingston-based Trends Research Institute has been tracking world business, political and cultural issues since 1980. People can read all about them in The Trends Journal, the magazine he publishes four times a year.

Celente, who has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “48 Hours” and other television news and talk shows, can wish people a Happy New Year today. But he doesn’t think 2012 is going to be very jolly.

Celente talked about things to come in a quick question-and-answer session with The Daily Gazette.

Q: In general, what does 2012 look like?

A: It’s a gloomy year ahead, unfortunately. The economy is not going to be very bright and, as a matter of fact, we see it getting much darker. The jobs that are being created don’t pay very well and they’re mostly service-sector jobs in the lower end of health care, jobs that should be paying more that aren’t.

It’s all connected. What’s going on in Europe is not going to end. The European debt crisis is not solved. The Central Bank has done what the Federal Reserve has done over here, just gave more money to the banks to help bail them out for a while. But that only lasts for so long.

You’re going to continue to see more social unrest. What we saw beginning just a year ago in Tunisia . . . then, of course, it went to Egypt and then to Yemen, then to Bahrain, then to Qatar, then to Syria and then to Libya. Then you have it all through Europe, you have unrest in Greece, you have unrest in Italy, in the U.K., riots. And they’re not going to stop. It’s class warfare, basically.

It just blows my mind, actually. When you really think about it, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m 65 years old, I’m not a kid, there’s never been anything like this, where there’s so much unrest in so many countries and all for fundamentally the same reason — far too few have much too much, and way too many have much too little.

Q: What is the end-game scenario?

A: Unfortunately, you can play the time line back; it’s history repeating itself with a little bit of a twist. The crash of 1929, the Great Depression, currency wars, trade wars, world war. The panic of ’08, the great recession-depression, depending on where you are in the world, currency wars are going on, trade wars are heating up, world war. When you see what’s going on around the world, it’s never been like this before in our lifetime. We’ve had these one-off wars kind of going, not everything simultaneously, for the same basic reason. When the money stops flowing down to the man on the street, the blood starts flowing in the street. It’s as old as history.

Q: Gloomy is right. Any bright spots at all?

A: The bright spots are life goes on. You need to look at where it’s going to be the most profitable and how to rise above it. That’s why the last trend we have is “going out in style.” You go back to the Great Depression, you look at the photos, people were dressed to the nines. The only people who wore jeans that were ripped were the people who were too poor to afford to sew them. It wasn’t a fashion statement. You also look at a rebirth, a renaissance, picking up the best of the past and bringing it forward. You see all these buildings in Detroit that are going into dust and ruin, and you look at the architecture and you can’t believe how beautifully crafted these buildings were.

So what it’s about now is the people who are going to make it are going to step up to style. That means if you’re going to open up a hamburger joint, have the best quality you can have and put your own unique touch on it. … The guy around the corner from me makes his hot dogs that have the unique taste. It’s breaking away from the pack and breaking the chains, going more toward local.

That’s another one of our trends: Repatriate. The whole big lie was globalization was going to make us all richer and it didn’t, it did just the opposite. Our standard of living has continued to decline. You need to build a domestic base. You need to do business with each other, not with people who have no interest in us. That’s how you turn it around.

Q: We’re now in 2012, more than a decade into the new millennium. Some people might have thought we would have seen more technological advances by now. Have we?

A: I would say not. I would say the great technologic advances happened in the last 20 years of the 20th century. Now it’s just improvements upon those. I would call it a de-evolution in that people have become what I call “wired and out of touch.” They have become so dependent on their technology that their technology controls them rather than them controlling it. They can’t break away from their electronic devices whether it’s the computer or the hand-held. I don’t own a cellphone.

Q: How come?

A: The only pain in the neck is there are no pay phones anymore. The reality is, I don’t have to tell somebody I’m 15 minutes late. If anybody needs to reach me, they reach me when they get me. I know what life was like before. To me, it’s a distraction because, again, you become a slave to it. And I’m also concerned about the studies; they’re up in the air about the health effects of putting this thing next to your brain. I do have an emergency one in my car, that’s the only one I have. What do I need it for? If there’s an emergency, they’ll get me when they get me. Does it come in handy sometimes? Sure it does. For me, it’s not worth the price.

Q: Are there any neat things coming our way in the future?

A: I think the best thing that’s going to happen, that’s going to change the course, will be an alternative energy, something that really breaks us away from nuclear and fossil fuel, something that’s really clean and regenerative on its own. We’re not putting the money into it. Think about it — what if we put a trillion dollars into an alternative energy rather than fighting a losing war in Iraq. A trillion dollars! We split the atom during World War II, invented the atom bomb in what, a couple of years, and spent an equivalent of $20 billion in today’s money and built Los Alamos (Los Alamos National Laboratory) to boot.

You’d think with a trillion dollars and brain power behind it, we could come up with an alternative energy. No, let’s fight a war based on false pretenses.

Q: Anything else coming our way?

A: I think that’s the biggest one. The false hope that people keep hoping for is that there’s going to be this magic pill that’s going to make them live to 120. Meanwhile, they’re eating crap food, drinking lots of soda and getting dumb watching a lot of crap.

Q: Speaking of dumb television, will reality shows finally die out?

A: No. As long as the media is controlled by the people that control it, that’s who they are. They keep saying, “This is what the people like.” I keep saying, “That’s what they like.” They keep blaming it on the people. I think they’re the ones with warped minds, that’s why they’re pumping this stuff.

Q: What does the trend look like for November’s presidential election?

A: We came out with the forecast around October or November. Obama. We said this in the spring edition of The Trends Journal that Obama is going to play the born-again populist card, and the Republicans, it’s like they had a Democratic operative running their campaigns. You know, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to cut Social Security, we’re going to cut any kind of social program and we’re going to give more money to the rich.” Yeah, that will get you elected. He’s going to win by default.

We see the only dark horse potential is Ron Paul. We wrote — the current frontrunners at the time were Romney, Bachmann and Perry — if they were in contention, that Obama would win and we say the same thing now.

Q: What’s coming your way for 2012?

A: The things that are most important to me are being in good health and a good state of mind. And the rewards that we get every day. We get letters, we get letters every day from subscribers. Three things they say. Number one, “Thanks for waking me up.” Number two, “Had it not been for you, I would have lost everything.” And number three is the most important, “Thank you for inspiring me.” We get a lot of benefits for the work that we do.

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